All Parish Bulletin

Our Plan Moving Forward

Hello Park Church Family,

With all going on in the world and the fact that we are not able to meet together in person, our church staff has been praying and discerning next steps to continue being the church together. We know that being isolated from one another and kids being home from school takes its toll on us physically, mentally and spiritually. We hope that the ways we are staying connected will be a meaningful and helpful part of your new rhythms.


Digital Church – Sundays @ 10am & 5pm.

Last Sunday we shared a pre-recorded sermon from Midtown Pastor Mike DeFrees for the Oak Meadow and Midtown Parishes (MacArthur Terrace was still able to meet). Beginning this week, all three parishes are moving our meetings to online only. Although this isn’t the ideal way to gather, we believe this is one of the best ways to love our neighbors and that it will be a meaningful chance to worship and realign our hearts together.

We will be streaming a full worship service live from The Impact Guild. In order to stay safe and be within local regulations, only those involved in recording or presenting the service will be present. This service will include worship, prayer, scripture reading and a message. We invite you to join us at 10am or 5pm. The service recording will also be available to watch during the week.


Bible Studies

We are hosting regular Bible studies and discussion led by church pastors through Zoom video conferencing. Though we long to be together in person, using video conferencing will allow us to interact and connect.

Sunday Nights @ 8pm Deeper Dive in Philippains led by Chris Nikkel

Tuesday Nights @ 8pmPracticing the Way of Jesus led by Scott Austin

Thursday Nights @ 8pmLenten Journey led by Mike DeFrees

Download Zoom

You can learn how to use Zoom here.

All our Zoom meetings will be held in this Zoom room location.


Devotional & Family Resources

We will also be providing video reflections, devotionals and family resources for our church family during this time. Keep checking our resources page, our Facebook page or download our app to stay up to date.

Family Ministries will be sharing videos on Monday for your family to watch and join in on for both Preschool and Elementary Families. In addition, our FM team has assembled packets of activities for you to pick up use for those lessons. Pickup will at 2 locations:

  • Oak Meadow Elementary Parking Lot: Sunday 2-3pm
  • Mark Twain Academy Parking Lot: Sunday 3:30-4:30
  • If you have any trouble making these pickup times, contact fm@theparksa.org

Stay in Contact

If you have a prayer request, email us at prayer@theparksa.org

If you have questions or have any needs we can help with, email us at info@theparksa.org

Updated Response on COVID-19

Park Family,

Like me, you are probably overwhelmed with the amount of information about Covid-19. As a church, we want to be a settling and stabilizing presence as you consider the days ahead. Our staff team has been carefully monitoring the impacts of the virus on our local communities. We are continually in prayer and discussion, seeking wisdom to provide a measured response for you, our church family.

Specifically, we are considering the potential impact on those in our parish communities, especially those most vulnerable to health complications from this virus. We are aiming to balance both the protection of our community and our calling to be a source of encouragement and hope in this very concerning time.

We received information earlier today that both NEISD and SAISD are suspending classes for one week. Other local school districts are following similar policies. This directly affects our Midtown and Oak Meadow Parish Services, which meet in public schools on Sunday mornings. With our calling in mind and with the information available to us at this time, we have decided to not gather together for our two Sunday Morning Services at Oak Meadow Elementary (Oak Meadow Parish) and Mark Twain Dual Language Academy (Midtown Parish) for Sunday, March 15. MacArthur Terrace Parish will continue to meet at Northeast Baptist Church on Sunday evening at 5:00 PM. MacArthur Terrace is our newest parish and is small enough to fall under the CDC and San Antonio Public Health restrictions on group size. If you are a regular attender of MacArthur Terrace and in good health, consider joining your community for worship Sunday at 5:00 PM. In addition, we are postponing the Men’s retreat on March 20-21 to a later date. 

It is with a heavy heart that two of our parishes will not be meeting together for Sunday, March 15 services. We remain committed to one another, and so in place of services, we will provide a video of one of our Parish pastor’s sermon as well as discussion questions for your family, Missional Community or Discipleship Core. 

Please take this time to pray for health and wisdom for the world, and it’s leaders. Share hope and be smart. Be faithful in generosity in the weeks to come. Share with your neighbors and support the work of charities in the city. We are not fearful people, instead, we operate on faith and facts. We are confident that our Father in Heaven is sovereign, and He is our advocate. Take this time to slow down, enjoy family and friends, and seek the Lord in smaller communities. 

We will update you this coming week on plans for the following Sundays. Please refer to www.theparksa.org for updates and opportunities to serve SA during this crisis. 

Grace & Peace, 

Scott Austin & The Park Community Leadership


Lent Guide

The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Daylight Saving This Sunday

Daylights saving is this Sunday so don’t forget to set you clocks forward an hour. See you all Sunday!


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL // Into the Presence of God

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.

~Psalm 23:4

It had been along four days of waiting. Music played quietly in the background but did nothing to ease the sorrow or strain of this vigil. My sisters and I had retreated to our usual spots in the room where we could find some comfort and space while we waited; each with our own thoughts and memories. Each suffering differently even though we were sisters with a shared past. Our mother’s ragged breath was the only other sound in the room. Suddenly there was a gentle knock on the door and in bounds a beautiful Golden Retriever dragging a tall older gentleman behind him, who was caring a tape player. Everything in the room changed the moment Sierra, the dog, entered. He greeted each of us with joyful enthusiasm and even went over and gently sniffed my mother’s hand that hung over the side of the bed. It was as if the sun came out from the storm clouds. Where there had been silence and sorrow there was now laughter and conversation. Everyone was smiling and we all expected that my mother too would soon sit up in bed and take part in this momentary joyful party. Sierra, partner, Mac, asked if we thought my mother would like to hear some old-time hymns and proceeded to pull a chair close to my mother’s bed and pushed the button on his recorder. As Sierra worked her magic on my sisters and I, he tenderly held my mother’s hand and shut his eyes and listened to the music with her even joining in on the chorus. It was such a beautiful moment of presence. These were not strangers in the room…suddenly we were all ushered into the presence of God with a dog, a humble servant willing to share his time with three grieving girls and their mother who was about to leave this earthly plane. There were no miracles preformed, no sorrows removed, just all God’s creatures coming together to help usher a loved one into the permanent presence of God. I will never forget that moment for God’s rod and staff showed up in the form of a dog named Sierra and a gentleman named Mac.

Abba, Please grant that we all may have eyes to see and hearts to receive your comfort and grace during trying times. Help us to stay attune to you and the tasks at hand so that we may be your servants or ambassadors of grace when called on to do so.

Amen


Upcoming Events

March

20th-21st // Men’s Retreat

29th // Lenten Prayer + Worship Night @ Northeast Baptist Church

April

10th // Good Friday Tenebrae Service @ Alamo Heights Baptist Church


Men’s Retreat

Join the men of The Park Friday, March 20th 6:30pm – 9pm  and Saturday, March 21st 8:00am-12pm for a men’s retreat. Friday will consist of BBQ and worship at the home of Scott Austin, and Saturday morning will be a formation workshop at the Impact Guild. Registration is $20 for dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning. To register you can click here. Don’t wait, space is limited and you wont want to miss out on this time together!

LENT GUIDE

The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Handling Discomfort


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.

~Exodus 16:3-4

How often in our lives do we abandon the present because of its discomfort or difficulty and end up missing the whole point of life. That is exactly what the Israelites were doing in the above scripture. In Exodus 2:23 The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and here remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. How quickly we forget past discomfort! We all handle discomfort badly. We are no different that those early Israelites. We will let faulty memories take over which will then pull us out of the present and into the past where we can recreate our stories and pacify our hearts with fantasy. We can also rush through the difficult present to the future and allow our hopes and dreams to disconnect us from the present moment. Either way, we then become our own savior and our own judge. We will deflect any of the responsibility of our own personal actions that might have contributed to our current discomfort and we blind our senses to the things God might be trying to teach us. We often take over for God and forget that our one task is to have faith in His providence and love for us. We too often begin to complain and turn ugly to ourselves and toward others, including God.We have bought into the lie that life is supposed to be easy and if we work hard enough it will be. That is not at all the case for most people. God has called us to work along side Him in the stewardship of this world we live in and we are to endure what comes with the gift of working alongside of Him. The only way to do that is to practice staying fully present in all things. You could almost insert the wedding vows people often take…be present in having, or not having, for better times or worse times, in richness or in poverty, in sickness or in health and stay fully present until death do us part. Pretty tough vows yet so worth working towards, for in this life we must endure many things and finish the race as He has asked us to do.

Father, even as I write these words, I find myself shrinking back, afraid that I am not strong enough to make it to the end. As those thoughts enter my brain, I hear your spirit gently telling me to breathe and take just one moment at a time. You are more than enough for me and if you are with me, I can do anything you ask me to do. Help me begin again and to just practice paying attention no matter the circumstances that my surround me or the ones that I love. Thank you, Father, for loving me no matter what!


LENT GUIDE

The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. At The Park we are beginning a series on the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, unsure of whether he is going to be sentenced to death or not. He realizes that his life could end, but instead of responding in fear, he responds with joy and with hope. In just four chapters, Paul mentions joy or rejoicing sixteen times. With the full expectation of his death, he is filled with joy. We want this season of Lent to be one where together we are not just meditating on the things of God, but one where we are practicing them together. In order to help with this, we have created this Lent Guide that includes mediations, prayers, and some practices for us to do together. Some of these practices involve a sacrifice of giving something up. Some of them require us to give blessings to others rather than ourselves. We pray this guide will be a tool for you to fully experience this season. To view a digital copy of the Lent guide and see upcoming services during the Lenten season you can click here.


Upcoming Events

March

20th-21st // Men’s Retreat

29th // Lenten Prayer + Worship Night @ Northeast Baptist Church

April

10th // Good Friday Tenebrae Service @ Alamo Heights Baptist Church


Men’s Retreat

Join the men of The Park Friday, March 20th 6:30pm – 9pm  and Saturday, March 21st 8:00am-12pm for a men’s retreat. Friday will consist of BBQ and worship at the home of Scott Austin, and Saturday morning will be a formation workshop at the Impact Guild. Registration is $20 for dinner Friday and breakfast Saturday morning. To register you can click here. Don’t wait, space is limited and you wont want to miss out on this time together!

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Practicing Presence


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7

As we journey into the practice of being fully present, we begin to notice how easily we are pulled away. We grow uncomfortable or bored and so our minds begin to overpower our spirits again. I am sure God knew that would be a difficulty humanity would face as he made them of both dust and spirit. He knew we, like Him, would need to find balance between the two. Dust (or the physical) is our starting point. It is where our physical bodies and minds are domain, but it is in the spiritual side of us that connects with the unseen aspects of life. It is where love and hope and connection with the Trinity dwells. Most of us, however, have not spent a great deal of time allowing our spirits to take the lead. We were pushed and shoved often tearfully as children into the “real world.” Most of us are really good at functioning at the helter-skelter pace of the mind and often we push our bodies far beyond their physical capacities and then wonder why we are so lost and physically drained. We have lost the balance between mind, body and spirit. It is the spirit that takes over when we sit quietly waiting for God to speak. It is the practice of presence that opens the door to the unseen world that surrounds all of us. It is the practice of presence that allows the body and mind to fall in line with the heart. 

God has always known we would struggle, yet He has continued to walk along side of us as we struggle.  That is what presence reveals to us as we begin to practice it and open ourselves up to His presence with us and with others. 

Mary Oliver poem expresses the struggle beautifully in her poem below.

The Living Together

The spirit says:

What gorgeous clouds.

The Body says: Good,

The crops need rain.

The spirit says:

Look at the lambs frolicking.

The body says:

When’s the feast?

The spirit says:

What is the lark singing about?

The body says: 

Maybe it’s angry.

The spirit says;

I think shadows are trying to say something.

The body says;

I know how to make light.

The spirit says;

My heart is pounding.

The body says;

Take off your clothes.

The spirit says; Body,

How can we live together?

The body says; Bricks and mortar

And a back door.

Practicality is good but not at the expense of the music of all of God’s creation. We were meant to bear the image of God…all of it, not just the sides that we like.

Prayer

Help us Abba to learn to let go and to play at your feet once again. Help us to give to you all of our beings, not just the sides we have been told by the world that they are worthwhile. Let us fall deeply into your arms and just be.

Amen


Upcoming Events

February

26th // Ash Wednesday @ Alamo Heights Baptist Church 7am & 12pm

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference

March

20th-21st // Men’s Retreat


IF: Women’s Simulcast Conference

At the IF: Women’s Conference, we will gather on the evening of Friday February 28 and Saturday morning and afternoon on the 29th at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. Registration is $50, which includes dinner on Friday, a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday and snacks throughout! We will watch a simulcast of IF speakers, worship together, and enjoy yummy meals with one another!  Feel free to contact Terri at terri@theparksa.org if you have any questions. To sign up you can click here.

Foster Adopt Month of Love

The month of February is the “Month of Love” so we’re inviting parishioners to send “love” notes of prayer and encouragement to foster families in San Antonio. Prayers and notes of encouragement will be sent to foster/adoptive families across San Antonio, demonstrating the love of God for them and inviting parishioners to intercede on their behalf. It also gives parishioners a tangible way to “care for the orphaned” as we are called to do. Sign up at theparksa.org/fosterlove. You can email the Foster/Adopt Ministry team at fosteradopt@theparksa.org with any questions or for other volunteer opportunities.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Missing God’s Presence


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

~Joshua 1:5

The major problem in most of our spiritual lives is that we either don’t believe the above scripture at all or we only halfway believe it when it becomes necessary, like when we are in trouble or at the end of ourselves. Then we timidly hope that it might be true if we have been good enough. This is why I love this passage from C. S. Lewis’s book The Horse and His Boy, for Shasta, the main character in the book finds himself at the end of his abilities and is feeling quite sorry for himself. Put yourself in Shasta place as you read the following:

“And being very tired and having nothing inside him, (Shasta) felt so sorry for himself that the tears rolled down his cheeks.”

What put a stop to all of this was a sudden fright. Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him. It was pitch dark and he could see nothing. And the Thing (or Person) was going so quietly that he could hardly hear any footfalls. What he could hear was breathing. His invisible companion seemed to breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature. And he had come to notice this breathing so gradually that he had really no idea how long it had been there. It was a horrible shock.

It darted into his mind that he had heard long ago that there were giants in these Northern countries. He bit his lip in terror. But now that he really had something to cry about, he stopped crying.

The Thing (unless it was a person) went on beside him so very quietly that Shasta began to hope that he had only imagined it. But just as he was becoming quite sure of it, there suddenly came a deep, rich sigh out of the darkness beside him. That couldn’t be imagination! Anyway, he has felt the hot breath of that sigh on his chilly left hand.

If the horse had been any good – or if he had known how to get any good out of the horse – he would have risked everything on a breakaway and a wild gallop. But he knew he couldn’t make that horse gallop. So, he went on at a walking pace and the unseen companion walked and breathed beside him. At last he could bear it no longer.

“Who are you?” he said, barely above a whisper.

“One who has waited long for you to speak,” said the Thing. Its voice was not loud, but very large and deep.

“Are you – are you a giant?” asked Shasta.

“You might call me a giant,” said the Large Voice. “But I am not like the creatures you call giants.”

“I can’t see you at all,” said Shasta, after staring very hard. Then (for an even more terrible idea had come into his head) he said, almost in a scream, “You’re not – not something dead, are you? Oh please – please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world.”

Once more he felt the warm breath of the Thing on his hand and face. “There,” it said, “that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows.”

Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so, he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. and then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the Tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had anything to eat.

“I do not call you unfortunate,” said the Large Voice.

“Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?” said Shasta.

“There was only one lion.” said the Voice.

“What on earth do you mean? I’ve just told you there were at least two lions the first night, and -”

“There was only one, but he was swift of foot.”

“How do you know?”

“I was the lion.”

And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you as you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”

“Then it was you who wounded Aravis?”

“It was I.”

“But what for?”

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

“Who are you?” asked Shasta.

“Myself,” said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself,” loud and clear and gay: and then the third time “Myself,” whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around you as if the leaves rustled with it.

Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too.

The mist was turning from black to grey and from grey to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing, he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness; his eyes began to blink. Somewhere ahead he heard birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite clearly now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun.

He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than a horse, a Lion. The horse did not seem to be afraid of it or else could not see it. It was from the lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or more beautiful.

Luckily Shasta had lived all of his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tashbaan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion. And of course, he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia. But after one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything.

The High King above all kings stooped towards him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mantle, was all around him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.”

How many times have we missed God’s presence for the same reasons as Shasta, where we were too self-absorbed in our own issues or concerns? How many times do we take credit for Your work in the world we live in? How many times have we been too afraid to even look at Him as he walks beside us? He is always present….it is us who are blind or too distracted, or too afraid to see Him.

Prayer

Holy Father, the Great I Am, 

Forgive us for our blindness and our overpowering desire to be in control at all times. Help us to see you in small and beautiful ways. Teach us to feel your breath and open our ears to the rest of creation as it sings your praise.

Amen


Upcoming February Events

15th // Practicing Presence Seminar

26th // Ash Wednesday

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference


Practicing Presence: Immersing Yourself in Him and Others

There are still spots available for this Saturday’s seminar- Practicing Presence: Immersing Yourself in Him and Others. We know this time of year can feel really “full”. The busyness of the holiday season is over, but is replaced by all the “new” things we add to our plates in the new year. From 9am-12pm, we want to provide a space to slow down and be encouraged in how to slow our pace to live wholehearted and connected to God, ourselves, and others. We invite you to join us. Registration closes tonight, and there is limited space available, so register now! You can click here to register. Childcare reimbursement is available if needed, contact Terri Pease at terri@theparksa.org for more info.

IF: Women’s Simulcast Conference

At the IF: Women’s Conference, we will gather on the evening of Friday February 28 and Saturday morning and afternoon on the 29th at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. Registration is $50, which includes dinner on Friday, a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday and snacks throughout! We will watch a simulcast of IF speakers, worship together, and enjoy yummy meals with one another!  Feel free to contact Terri at terri@theparksa.org if you have any questions. To sign up you can click here.

Foster Adopt Month of Love

The month of February is the “Month of Love.” As such, we’re inviting parishioners to volunteer to send “love” notes of prayer and encouragement to foster families in San Antonio. We did this last year and were floored by the response, so we are looking forward to doing so again.

Prayers and notes of encouragement will be sent to foster/adoptive families across San Antonio, demonstrating the love of God for them and inviting parishioners to intercede on their behalf. It also gives parishioners a tangible way to “care for the orphaned” as we are called to do.

Sign up at theparksa.org/fosterlove

You can email the Foster/Adopt Ministry team at fosteradopt@theparksa.org with any questions or for other volunteer opportunities.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

Practicing Presence: Immersing yourself in Him and others

Seminar Next Saturday

“You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest? … The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.

– David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity 

Join us next Saturday at The Impact Guild for a chance to practice wholeheartedness, which as it turns out, is deeply connected to one of The Park’s core values: Presence.  Presence with God, presence to yourself, and presence with one another. Join in on a conversation around how we can maintain a constant connection to God’s presence in the ordinary, mundane tasks of our every day life. During our time together, you will be given the opportunity to practice centering prayer with God and savor some time with Him. We will also give you some tools to cultivate a life that is conducive to walking closely with God. Whether you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or if your life just feels busy, boring, or fast-paced, come collect some tools to prevent disconnect and burn out. Breakfast and coffee will be served at 8:30 AM and our conversation will begin at 9:00 AM. Come soak up all that God has to give to you on this beautiful, ordinary Saturday morning. We look forward to our time together! Click here to register.

If you are a dreamer, come in,

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…

If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire (says the Lord)

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come in!

Come in!

Poem by Shel Silverstein 


WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL: I AM

Who is this I Am? The Bible has given us many ideas about who God is. For example, He is called, I am the Lord, I am God Almighty, I am the God of your Fathers, I am the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate, the good shepherd, the true vine and I am the way and the truth and the life. Yet here we are 2000 years later still asking the question….Who is this God Almighty? Perhaps that is why He called himself the I AM leaving the door open for us to discover Him for ourselves and the only way to do that is to truly spend time in His presence and let Him show you who He is.  Scripture tells us that we are His image bearers.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. ~Genesis 1:27

But even this is confusing when you look around and see so many different people.

I have a friend who decided a few years ago that she would take a year and study the character of God, the Father, by scripture reading, prayer and then by quietly sitting at His feet daily waiting for Him to speak. She would then journal what He revealed to her. When the year was up, she moved on to Jesus, the son, and the year after that the Holy Spirit (Spiritus). She did not rush the journey. She allowed it to progress as God directed.  What she found was that she had always kept the Trinity at arms-length. She gradually learned to relax in the presence of the I AM and learned how deeply she was loved and could then turn and freely love others. She also learned how to be fully present in her earthly life just as God is. She now understands completely what Psalm 84:10 means, better is one day in your courts that a thousand elsewhere. She learned that that “court” can be found anywhere if we just focus on being fully present to our Creator. If we wait on Him, He will always come and meet with us.

Prayer

Great I AM, help us to get to know you better. We long to feel your presence in our everyday life. Forgive us that we have perhaps pursued the easy route in getting to know you. We allowed others to tell us who you are.  Teach us to sit fully present and your feet and wait for you to speak. Help us not to be easily discouraged in this process for we know you are our everything and that you have things you need us to do. Here we are Abba, patiently waiting on you.

Amen


Upcoming February Events

15th // Practicing Presence Seminar

26th // Ash Wednesday

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference


IF: Women’s Simulcast Conference

At the IF: Women’s Conference, we will gather on the evening of Friday February 28 and Saturday morning and afternoon on the 29th at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. Registration is $50, which includes dinner on Friday, a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday and snacks throughout! We will watch a simulcast of IF speakers, worship together, and enjoy yummy meals with one another! If you register by this Sunday, you’ll receive a T-shirt! Feel free to contact Terri at terri@theparksa.org if you have any questions. To sign up you can click here.

Missional Partner Highlight: Foster & Adopt Ministry

The month of February is the “Month of Love.” As such, we’re inviting you to volunteer to send “love” notes of prayer and encouragement to foster families in San Antonio. We had an incredible response last year, so we are looking forward to doing so again. You can sign up to send a note by clicking here. You can email the Foster/Adopt Ministry team at fosteradopt@theparksa.org with any questions or for other volunteer opportunities.

Men’s Monthly Prayer Nights

The men’s prayer group for Midtown meets on the third Thursday of the month and the Mac Terrace group meets on the third Friday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

IF: Women’s Simulcast Conference


Calling all women of every stage and age at The Park, we hope you’ll make plans to join us for The Park’s IF:Gathering this year! At IF:Gathering 2020, we are going to focus completely, entirely on the person of Jesus. That is it. This is our hope and we need hope. Across the earth, across every different country and nation, let’s come together for two days and ignore our feeds and ignore all the noise and ignore the chaos inside of us and listen to the word of God taught. The world is spinning out like crazy and so are the insides of us, and we need the thing that is going to steady us.

We will gather on the evening of Friday February 28 and Saturday morning and afternoon on the 29th at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. Registration is $50, which includes dinner on Friday, a light breakfast and lunch on Saturday and snacks throughout! We will watch a simulcast of IF speakers like Jennie Allen, Jo Saxton and Beth Moore, worship together, and enjoy yummy meals with one another! If you register before February 9, you’ll receive a T-shirt!  Feel free to contact Terri at terri@theparksa.org if you have any questions. To sign up you can click here.


Upcoming February Events

15th // Presence Seminar

26th // Ash Wednesday

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference


Missional Partner Highlight: Foster & Adopt Ministry

The month of February is the “Month of Love.” As such, we’re inviting you to volunteer to send “love” notes of prayer and encouragement to foster families in San Antonio. We had an incredible response last year, so we are looking forward to doing so again. You can sign up to send a note by clicking here. You can email the Foster/Adopt Ministry team at fosteradopt@theparksa.org with any questions or for other volunteer opportunities.

Men’s Weekly Prayer Nights

Midtown and Oak Meadow men’s prayer meets on the third Thursday of the month. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To receive more information from a parish pastor, you can click here.

With Boldness and Courage


I have three kids- one is in middle school and two are elementary aged.  One of the trickiest things to navigate with them is what to do in different social situations. We have tried to teach them what it means to be a good friend and to stand up for those who are being hurt by others, even if it means being unpopular.  That’s a hard thing for kids to do, and if I am being honest, it’s even hard for me to do sometimes as an adult! The best way I’ve seen for my kids to learn this valuable lesson is also the hardest way- for them to be the one who is hurt.  When you are hurt, nothing feels better than knowing a friend stood up for you! 

One of my kids in particular seems to experience this more often than the other two.  A few weeks ago, she found out from a friend that another friend called her a hurtful name. A third friend in the group boldly stood up for her and said all the things that she loved about my daughter. Of course when she found out that a friend who she loved had said something mean about her, she was crushed. But, her sadness was quickly overcome with gratefulness for the friend who had stood up for her. We took sometime to talk about this. What does it look like to be a good friend? How does it feel when a friend hurts you? We also talked about how courageous it was for her friend to stand up for her. Where does that courage come from? How do we choose courage over fear? 

This reminds me a little of the story in Acts 4 where John and Peter are arrested for teaching about Jesus and for healing a lame man.  Thousands of people were coming to faith in Jesus because of their teaching and actions, so they were called in front of the Sanhedrin to be questioned after their arrest. If there was ever a time to keep their mouth shut, this was it!  We can gather from scripture that they were probably roughed up during the arrest and kept in jail overnight. And they also knew what happened to Jesus, so it would have been understandable if they chose to stay quiet. But instead, scripture says that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaimed that their power came from Jesus Christ alone and they continued to witness about the resurrection in front of the Jewish leaders.  In Verse 13 it says, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized they had been with Jesus.  I love this so much.  Because of the way they spoke with such confidence and boldness, the leaders knew they had been with Jesus. They had been friends and their loyalty and allegiance was only to Him, regardless of what consequences may come their way.

As we navigate tough situations in our lives, let’s remember the actions of Peter and John. Because the Holy Spirit is in us, we are able to be courageous and not only stand up for our friends, but also boldly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ! 

~Terri Pease


Upcoming February Events

1st // Dinner for 8

15th // Presence Seminar

26th // Ash Wednesday

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference


Dinner for 8

This Sunday is the last day to sign up for Dinner for 8. These dinners are hosted in homes and happen a couple of times a year. They are critical to our parish life as they model hospitality. We invite everyone to attend for great food, conversation and overall connection to other people in our church. Dinner for 8 is Saturday, February 1st at 7 PM. To register for a dinner group you can click here.

Missional Partner Highlight: Any Woman Can

Any Woman Can is a Missional Partner of the Oak Meadow parish. Any Woman Can offers counselors, nurses, and client advocates who walk alongside women in crisis by offering free counseling, ultrasounds, and STD and pregnancy testing. Saturday, February 29th at 6pm they are having An Amazing Night of Entertainment with special guests Ruben V, HARRIS the III, Master Illusionist, and Sonny Melendres. This event helps support services for the city of San Antonio. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

IF:The Park SA Women’s Conference

Join women of The Park on February 28th-29th for IF: The Park SA 2020! This gathering will include worship, fellowship, and powerful speakers. Registration is $50 which includes dinner on Friday, lunch on Saturday and an IF:The Park SA t-shirt. To register you can click here. For questions or more information you can contact Terri Pease at terri@theparksa.org.

MLK March this Monday


What would the actions you take on Monday say about the content of your character? In observance of MLK Day and thinking of those living in the midst of suffering, I am reminded of the Park’s core values, how they reflect much of what Dr. Martin Luther King stood for. 

Presence – nothing speaks louder than our presence. Jesus showed us what it is to be present; the woman at the well, the blind man, the leper, the Good Samaritan, the list goes on and on! ~Luke 1:18 

Sacrifice – we may not have to sacrifice in the same ways as others, but we can identify with their sacrifice and minister hope to them from our Heavenly Father. ~Romans 15:13 

Submission – we can submit ourselves to our neighbors, treating them like we would treat ourselves or better! ~Ephesians 5:21 

Renewal – we are asking God to renew our city and renew us to be people reflecting Jesus. ~Isaiah 26:8 

Family – we are all God’s creation, every one of us. Daily the news portrays how our nation as full of hate and divisiveness. May we be anointed by God to bring unconditional love, inclusiveness, and peace wherever we go. ~Matthew 12: 9-12 

Sending – we are sent disciples, making disciples. The twelve disciples ministered in each town, to any who had need. We are those same sent disciples giving a word of encouragement, a healing touch, freedom to set a captive free, and joy where there is weeping, all in Jesus’ name. ~Titus 2: 11-14 

Many of us will never know the human rights abuses experienced by our brothers and sisters in the States and around the world. If you aren’t able to march, consider serving a new neighbor with dinner or a word of encouragement!

“(Jesus’) love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.” Martin Luther King

Jen Tallon


Join us for MLK March

Join us as we march this Monday for the MLK March. There will be two meeting locations. To take the free Via shuttle, park at St. Philips College on 1801 MLK Drive for free. We will gather at 9:00 AM by the buses and take the shuttle to the March. Shuttles will return back to the St Philips parking lot. If you miss us at the busses, a secondary meet up spot will be at the sign of MLK Academy under the big tree. The March is 2.75 miles long and we encourage kiddos to take scooters or wagons. For more information you can contact Jen Tallon at jen@theparksa.org or Aaron Villarreal at aaron@theparksa.org.


Upcoming Events

January

20th// MLK March

February

1st // Dinner for 8

28th-29th // IF: Women’s Conference


Dinner for 8

These dinners are hosted in homes and happen a couple of times a year. They are critical to our parish life as they model hospitality. We invite everyone to attend for great food, conversation and overall connection to other people in our church. Dinner for 8 is Saturday, February 1st at 7 PM. To register for a dinner group you can click here.

IF:The Park SA Women’s Conference

Join women of The Park on February 28th-29th for IF: The Park SA 2020! This gathering will include worship, fellowship, and powerful speakers. Registration is $50 which includes dinner on Friday, lunch on Saturday and an IF:The Park SA t-shirt. To register you can click here. For questions or more information you can contact Terri Pease at terri@theparksa.org.

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